The Beta Lunacy Fridge

For me, after all of the nitpicking you go through, you’re probably going to feel that your manuscript has been violated. I mean, it was violated by you, so can it really be that bad? It really isn’t, but what comes next is.

Your manuscript is about to be violated by beta readers.

“Wait, what do you mean, Stephan? You mean that other people are going to be reading my book and critiquing it? They are going to be flipping through my well-crafted pages and telling what sucks and what is great?”

The simple truth is yes. And I will go one step further. You will hate it. Now, I know we all put on our big boy or big girl pants when we decided to be a writer. Our thesaurus is roaring and our imagination is burning. But I can tell you from firsthand experience, that a beta reader is going to bring out the worst in you.

You are going to find yourself second guessing your writing. You may feel that the beta reader is not understanding the story right. They may seem mean, or uncaring. But the thing you must realize is that if a beta reader can’t follow along or understand your story, then how will all of your readers?

You may find yourself going a bit insane, as hinted by the title.

Note: Every time I try to search Lunacy Fringe, I spell Fridge instead, and also because of copyright. For those of you wondering, it’s a song by The Used.

This isn’t a bad thing either. The point of a beta reader is to do several things including:

1.      Ensuring the hook pulls you into the story.

2.      Seeing if the characters develop.

3.      Pointing out Plot holes.

4.      Finding if the story holds interest.

5.      Helping clear up convoluted parts.

And this is not an all-inclusive list. There are many other things that a beta reader will do for you that you should appreciate. In the end, they are trying to help you write a novel that is the best version it can be.

When you write, you don’t see everything. Why? Because the things that you are doing, you have been doing for years. What happens when you have a habit? You do it without thinking about it. The same holds true for writing. This is why you need a fresh set of eyes on your manuscript.

Where can I find a beta reader?

1.      Family and Friends – This should be your first stop. You don’t have to search for them, or pay them (hopefully). And their critique may actually be softer than someone who doesn’t know you. You need the real deal, but starting off this way may be easier.

2.      Writing Community Members – The #writingcommunity is a community for a reason. I have been a part of many beta reads, and also many swap and reviews, and can say that this is a group who really care about each other. They want to see you succeed. @MegTrast even has a great site (Overhaul My Novel) for editing and beta readers.

3.      Goodreads Groups – Before Twitter, I found some great beta readers on Goodreads. Their groups are very specific and you can post your blurb in there and see if someone wants to pick it up to take it for a beta ride.

4.      Facebook Groups – Facebook is also a good source for writers and those in need of beta reading. I put it last because I found the first three way more helpful. All of these places are supportive, but I would look at them all before you make a decision.

And these are just a few. A simple search of the internet will help in finding other places to find beta readers and their invaluable service. The biggest tip that I can give you is to find someone who enjoys your genre. They will appreciate it, and be able to give more catered advice that someone who is unfamiliar.

Do you have a go to for your beta readers?

Musings with Serah Johnson

“I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

~ J. R. R. Tolkien

The great thing about Tolkien is that he was on to something here. Especially in the social media world today. Do you know everyone you are following? What about the ones following you? The chances that you know absolutely everyone is small.


You don’t need to be best friends with absolutely everyone. That is the amazing thing about groups such as the #writingcommunity. We all work together for the common goal of advice and support for our writing careers. I know for me, I would like to know a little more, and interact with some people who really capture the essence of what the writing community on Twitter is all about.

One such author is Serah Johnson (soon to be Brightside). Usually there is not a day that goes by where I don’t see that eye show up on my feed. There seems to always be someone commenting or sharing information from Serah. I think that is awesome, and it really shows what we can accomplish when we work together.


Serah Johnson


What genre(s) do you write in?

“YA, romance, and adventure.”


What books have you published? 

“I haven't published any books yet. I hope to start querying this summer.”


What books are you currently writing? 

“I am currently collaborating with Michael Brightside (@mibrightside on Twitter).”


What is your current writing status – Querying, indie publishing?

“I would have to say querying at the moment.”


How did you get into writing?

“My sixth-grade language arts teacher was the first person to take an interest in my writing. She told my parents I was destined to be an author. Several years later, I finally took her advice.”


What is your motivation to write? 

“My motivation to write is to help others. I hope each person that reads my books can take something special away from them.”


What do you want to accomplish in your writing career? 

“Being a “famous author” would be amazing. However, changing someone's life with my writing would have to be my biggest goal.”


Where do you currently write?

“When I am alone, I write in my bed. If my partner is with me, we write in our office.”


Who is your favorite author? 

“Nicholas Sparks”


What is your favorite food?



What is your favorite band?

“Angels & Airwaves”


If you could go anywhere, real or imagined, where would you go? Why? 

“ I would love to visit Paris. I believe Paris would be a great inspiration for my romance novels.”


What is something that we don’t already know about you? 

“Along with being an author, mother, and girlfriend, I also work two jobs.”


How can we get in touch with you?

Twitter: @SerahJAuthor


Also, make sure and head on over and congratulate Serah on her engagement!


Nitpicking Ninnymuggins

Oh man. It is time. Tax season is over, and I’m back. I’m unsure if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but nevertheless, here I am. I believe we left off just after you were grudgingly deciding to go back through your novel and rewrite it so it makes sense. 

If you’re like me, there is a high likelihood that you aren’t going to rewrite every single line. I don’t feel that is necessary. I mean think of all the hard work you put into that beautiful, luscious manuscript. Don’t just throw her out with the trash. Love her. Cultivate her, and she will grow into the novel that you knew she could. 

Some of you may prefer to rewrite the entire thing, and that is alright also. It is always going to be completely up to you. Right now, you don’t have an editor. You don’t have an agent or a publisher. It’s just you and your crisp, yellowing parchment. Fine. This isn’t medieval times, so you probably have your laptop out instead. Your crisp, white high definition display may be more like it. 

It is in times like these that you may hate writing, but I assure you that everything you cut will be cut for a reason. Everything you add will be added for a reason. 

I fully understand that you put your blood, sweat, and tears into this novel, but regardless of how many times you change it, or who changes it, from here on out should be all about your reader. 


We all get it, because published or not, we’ve all had to deal with it from time to time. Your manuscript is perfect. I mean downright mainstream, referenced, baked on high for 33 minutes, and slightly browned to perfection on the edges.  

But his is no longer your book. It is your readers. You have become an author of the people. 

This is not to downplay your importance. I feel that this is something that many authors overlook. They don’t want to change their book, because it is their special work, and it is like a piece of themselves. I get that. I have spent countless hours writing, researching, pleading to the gods of literature. But in the end, you have to accept that the reason you are getting into the writing game is to accentuate your work. 

To whom you might ask?  

Your readers. They are the reason that you are writing. They are the reason you have your followers. They are the ones who are going to buy your book and give you amazing reviews so someone else can buy your book. 

I hope by now that you understand where I’m going with this. Does it really matter if John has black hair or red? To you, it may. But I feel like sometimes we miss the point of what we are doing. I love to go back to George Martin as an example. Not in a bad way, but just because it is a prominent thought in the world today. I finished the fifth book in A Song of Ice and Fire a few months ago. We’re talking about December of 2018. I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the next one. But an interesting thing happened. I Did some research and found out that it came out in 2011. 

This means that some people have been waiting for eight years for the next book to come out. This does several things for me. One, it makes me feel good about my writing speed. I have always been a slow writer, and I felt like it has taken me way to long to churn out books. Two, it makes me feel a sense of urgency when I write. 

I’m sure there is a good reason for not finishing the series in a timely fashion. But at some point, you must realize that everything you are doing now is for your readers, not yourself. They’re the ones who are going to make you great. Your work is not worth anything if nobody ever gets to read it. 

Do nitpick a little. Cut a little. Add a little. If your agent or publisher wants you to change something, then consider it. The book is yours. You strung together thousands of words from your own heart and mind. Nobody is going to take that away from you, and nobody is changing it. They are simply helping you craft the raw materials that you have written into something even better. 

If your boss offered you a raise, you would take it. You wouldn’t say, “Now, hang on a moment. I like what I’m making now. Why would you try and change that when I’m used to it?” If you think about your writing in that fashion, then it almost becomes silly to think of not getting down and dirty with your manuscript.  

Make sure it is the best work you can write. Make sure it is the best version of yourself. 

Musings with K.L. Thorne

I have met so many interesting authors since I decided to jump into the Twitterverse. There are so many everyday people trying to become something awesome. I think that there is something to say for those people who pour hours and hours into making a work of literature.

One such author, K.L. Thorne, is someone who has been around since the beginning.

What makes a good book? The characters? The plot? In my opinion, the thing that makes a book good is specific to the individual reading it. For example. One of my all time favorite books is For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. If you were to wonder onto Goodreads and begin to look at the reviews, you’ll notice that people either five-star loved it, or one-star hated it. Now, that is a pretty large variance for something that is supposed to be a classic work of literature.

When I first met K.L. Thorne, the first thing that stuck out to me was how well she interacted with others on Twitter. And I think we all know that is the whole point. It does no good to be on a social site and not actually interact with your followers. I mean that is why they are following you in the first place.

But then things changed a little when we swapped books. I read the first book in her Hestaesia series, and I was blown away by how good it was. The story line was intriguing. The characters memorable. The description took me right into the story and made me want to read more.

There will always be those people in life who surprise you. If you are one of them, the important thing to do is to keep on surprising. Katy, keep surprising us, and keep writing great books.

K. L. Thorne (Katy)

What genre(s) do you write?  

“Steamy romance.” 

Have you published any books?  

A series of five – Hestaesia. The first being Lost in Love. Self-published through Amazon.” 

What books are you currently writing?  

Book two of the Hestaesia series is complete and undergoing editing. Currently writing book three.” 

What is your current writing status – Querying, indie publishing?  

“Indie publishing.” 

How did you get into writing?  

I’ve always liked writing – I can recall writing silly comics for my little brother when I was six or seven about the adventures of his teddy bear Billy! I’ve had the writing bug ever since.” 

What is your motivation to write?  

“I’ve recently taken a hiatus from writing while waiting on responses from my beta readers and was submerged in terrible anxiety. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Until, one day, I wrote a little snippet from a random idea in my head. The anxiety vanished as each word flowed, as if writing itself was a sword against the beast. I write because it makes my insides feel quiet, as if I’m alone in the world I’m creating. And I love it.” 

What do you want to accomplish in your writing career?  

I love people enjoying my work. I get a real buzz out of discussing my imaginary world with other people and have them be as excited about it as I am.” 

Who is your favorite author?  

Kresley Cole.” 

What is your favorite band? 

Three Days Grace.” 

What is your favorite food? 


If you could go anywhere, real or imagined, where would you go? Why?  

Iceland – to see the Northern Lights and go to that blue lagoon hot spring.” 

What is something that we don’t already know about you?  

I am owned by a stroppy, but ridiculous, Dalmatian called Roo.” 

How can we get in touch with you? 

Twitter: @KLThorne

Instagram: @k.l.thorne 




If you aren’t following Katy, then you are missing out!

Writer's Snag

We’ve all heard of writer’s block. I mean, you want to write. You’re sitting in your favorite place. Hot coffee steaming beside you. You open that fresh Word document, and you are completely ready to write the best novel of your life. Then you realize that the only action happening on the page is a blinking cursor.

Well, forget about it! I’m not talking about that.

What I want to discuss today, is writer’s snag. I’ve chosen to call it writer’s snag because this is a different animal compared to writer’s block, and so it would make sense to give it a different name. For me, writer’s snag is when you want to write. You are excited to write. You know exactly what you want to put on that page.

But you are too busy. A great example is this short and sweet blog post this week.

I have to admit, that this can be a troublesome time in any writer’s life. I would even argue that it is more of a nuisance than writer’s block. Kids, family, work. They all seem to get in the way sometimes. I am not immune to this phenomenon, and neither are you.

Case in point: It’s tax season. I’m an accountant.

I’m telling you, it’s rough. I have this great idea for a contemporary fantasy. It began to blossom around the Christmas holiday. I was off work more than I normally was, and got myself spoiled and was able to write way more that I normally do in a week. Next thing you know, the beginning of the year rolled over and I’m drowning in work-related craziness.

I have this great idea, and I can’t even write about it!

But what we are going to do, is breathe. Just breathe. It’s fine, and there is no way we are going to let writer’s snag keep you from producing that bestseller. I have developed a few pointers in order to allow you make the most of your time when you are suffering from writer’s snag.

1.       Make Every Small Moment Matter – I know we all say that we are so busy we can’t do anything. But let’s be real for just moment. Are you really? Can you shave ten minutes off of lunch? Do you really need that long in the restroom? The truth is, there are tiny bits of time that you have throughout the day. You just have to capture them in small quantities. 100 words may only be 100 words, but if you write them 1,000 times you have a novel.

2.       Think Outside the Box – This should be the most obvious. If you’re a writer, then you are in the best scenario you could imagine. There is a problem that your character (you) has to solve. So, think outside the box and make time. I spend my mornings writing, since it is too busy to do it at work. Nab a few lines while your child is napping, or stay up later after they go to bed. I have to get up a bit earlier, and I’m not fully functional, but it is slowly getting written. Even a small bit at a time counts in the long run.

3.       Suck it Up, Buttercup – This may be the Army coming out in me, or possibly the father. But I grew up in a time where if you wanted to do something, you went out and did it. It isn’t easy, but you have to think about the future and what you want to accomplish. Sometimes there won’t always be that perfect time. Got get it! Go write one damn word a day if that is all you can do because guess what? If you do that 100,000 times, then you have a novel.

And there you have it. Now get out there and defeat writer’s snag forever!